WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by a Georgia woman who said she was fired from her job for being a lesbian.
Reuters reported that the court left in place a lower court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect the LGBTQ community.
The case hinged on an argument currently being litigated in different parts of the United States: whether Title VII, which bans employment discrimination based on sex, also outlaws bias based on sexual orientation. Title VII also bars employment discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin.
Lower courts are divided over the issue, making it likely the Supreme Court eventually will hear a similar case. In April, a Chicago-based federal appeals court found that Title VII does forbid job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
While the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Obama administration had argued that Title VII did apply to sexual orientation, the Trump administration has argue the opposite.
“By declining to hear this case, the Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable and leaving a split in the circuits that will cause confusion across the country,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Project director for Lambda Legal, said in a statement. “But this was not a “no” but a “not yet,” and rest assured that Lambda Legal will continue the fight, circuit by circuit as necessary, to establish that the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual orientation discrimination.”
According to Reuters, Jameka Evans sued Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah, a psychiatric facility, and several of its officials in 2015. She had alleged the hospital had discriminated against her for her orientation.